Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Burgeoning Blooms, Birds, and Bugs

I was out the door by 7:00 this morning to continue my surveying of the Balsam Lake block.  For a change, there were mostly sunny skies right from the get go. 


I haven’t had the chance to investigate the identity of these blooms, but there is a huge round group of them out in one of the meadows along my route.  For now, I’ll just call them butterfly bushes because I think the yellow blooms not only had a shape similar to a hummingbird, but the 20’ in diameter mound was a magnet for ruby-throated hummingbirds.


This male ruby throat chose an exposed branch to claim this feeding grounds as his.  I just wished he would land here facing the other direction so the sun’s rays would light up his iridescent ruby throat.  That didn’t happen though.


I also hoped to see him do his aerial display for one of the visiting females so I could check this species off as a proved breeder.  Instead, he just gave his rattling song from his preferred perch.  Maybe the next time.  Their display of swooping back and forth in a large half circle arc is something to enjoy seeing.  They are such mighty little warriors.

_MG_8894Not to be outdone by the hummingbird bush, one of the first orchids of the season has appeared… the yellow lady’s slipper. _MG_8893

This is the first lady’s slipper I’ve ever seen, so I was justifiably enthralled with its design.


When I made it to the Balsam Lake kiosk and overlook, I got out of the truck to see what birds I could find in the area.  I usually see chipping sparrows at bird feeders, but today they were busy eating the seeds of the oak tree catkins.  It wasn’t long before something else caught my attention.


Remember when I talked about the dragonfly hatch on the Booth Lake block yesterday?  Well that hatch was occurring today around Balsam Lake.  If you click on the above photo, I hope you can see the hundreds of dragonflies that were in the air as I walked the overlook road.  All of those little dots in the sky and in front of the trees are dragonflies.

IMG_3284It turned out to be a veritable feast for the two cedar waxwings I was watching.  They will sometimes hawk insects in the air from a perch… flying out a ways to catch something and coming back to the perch to consume it.  Today, they didn’t have to expend much energy at all to catch their fill.  This bird just watched the sky, and…


…hopped down to the next branch to grab a dragonfly out of the air on the way down.  Easy Peasy!  I’m surprised I didn’t inhale one of those bugs as I walked along.  That’s how numerous they were.


The hardest part of this wild all-you-can–eat buffet was for the cedar waxwing to figure out how to swallow the  wings.                                 

                                                  Guess this was ‘THE END’ for the dragonfly! Winking smile

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy